Seventeen researchers at the University of Fribourg have obtained grants from the new Spark funding scheme of the Swiss National Science Foundation. Spark provides up to one year of funding to explore new scientific ideas, especially when they show unconventional thinking. Uniquely, the program is open to researchers at all career stages, from recent PhD graduates to seasoned professors.
Indeed, the projects funded at Unifr are remarkable for their breadth in terms of the experience of the researchers, as well as for their themes. Nine grants were awarded to highly specialized projects in material science and medicine, including four by young researchers from the Adolphe Merkle Institute. At the other end of the spectrum, Professor Christine Bichsel (Geography) plans to study science fiction from China, an exploratory first step towards a more ambitious study of the conception of outer space, while Dr Hamed Alavi (HumanIST Institute) will be probing the sociological implications of Artificial Intelligence.